March 3, 2021, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, provided an update on the province’s ongoing workplace inspection blitz, which is aimed at ensuring compliance with COVID-19 public health measures.
This afternoon, the City of Toronto released a backgrounder with information comparing the public health measures in effect under the current Stay-at-Home order, versus the Grey-Lockdown level of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. The province, in consultation with Toronto Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is considering transitioning Toronto from the current shutdown back to the COVID-19 Response Framework as of Monday, March 8.
Dr. de Villa also issued a Section 22 Class Order for workplaces in active COVID-19 outbreak today. The Order outlines additional public health requirements for these workplaces.
This morning, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh recommended that Peel also be moved to the Grey-Lockdown level of the framework. Today’s announcement from Dr. Loh comes after earlier calls from Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie to have Peel re-enter the provincial COVID-19 framework at the Red level.
Earlier today, the government announced a one-time investment of up to $27 million to maintain operations at six of Ontario’s most popular tourist destinations. Funding will protect jobs and ensure the financial stability of these institutions by supporting with operational, maintenance, and capital needs.
Update on COVID-19 Workplace Inspections
This afternoon, Minister McNaughton provided an update on the government’s ongoing workplace inspection blitz.
To date, provincial offences officers have conducted more than 13,374 COVID-related workplace inspections in 2021, resulting in 373 tickets. Inspections have demonstrated that the majority of businesses are learning how to operate safely, and in adherence with public health measures.
Over the coming weeks, inspections will return to businesses that have already been visited in Eastern Ontario, Durham, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. Additional campaigns focused on small businesses will also be taking place in York, Windsor Essex, and Waterloo Region.
In addition to today’s update, Minister McNaughton announced that the government has hired an additional 100 occupational health and safety inspectors to support business inspection campaigns. The new inspectors have begun a condensed training program and are scheduled to be fully trained by July 1, 2021.
City of Toronto Section 22 Class Order – Workplaces in Active Outbreak
Dr. de Villa issued a Section 22 Class Order for the City of Toronto today, requiring workplaces with active outbreaks of COVID-19 to adhere to the following additional public health measures:
- Ensure the use of masks by every worker in the workplace at all times for the duration of the outbreak.
- Follow Toronto Public Health (TPH) instructions pertaining to COVID-19 testing for workers.
- In common areas, ensure two metres of distance between workers can be maintained, limit capacity to 25%, and post signage indicating the maximum number of people permitted in the area.
- Provide contact information for a designated person at the workplace to manage communications and implement additional measures as required by TPH.
- Maintain a record of every worker that attends the workplace during the outbreak.
- Comply with instructions from infection prevention and control personnel from TPH.
- Post TPH signage about physical distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing.
Failure to comply with this Order may result in fines of $5,000 for individuals or $25,000 for corporations, for every day during which non-compliance occurs.
Ontario Announces Support for GTA Tourist Destinations
Earlier today, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Lisa MacLeod, announced a one-time investment of up to $27 million to support six major tourism and cultural institutions in the Greater Toronto Area.
The following Ministry agencies and attractions will receive financial support:
- Up to $9.6 million at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for operating costs;
- Up to $9.5 million for the Royal Ontario Museum for museum operations, plus $300,000 for capital repairs;
- Up to $4.35 million for the Ontario Science Centre for operating costs, plus $890,000 for capital repairs;
- Up to $1.2 million for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection for operating costs, plus $50,000 for capital repairs;
- $705,000 for the Art Gallery of Ontario for critical infrastructure upgrades, and;
- $430,000 for the Royal Botanical Gardens for infrastructure projects to increase the safety of visitors and staff during COVID-19.